Judging is a lonely job in which a man is, as near as may be, an island entire. – Abe Fortas
Today my sack of poems from the NZPS 2011 International Haiku Competition arrived. This is my first time judging for the NZPS, and I’m feeling a strange surge of pleasurable anticipation. I know from previous experience (having thrice before edited the anthology) that there is likely to be a mixture of Good, Bad and Ugly, but that’s the case in everything. I have to say that I am greatly heartened to find that the entries all seem to be on sensible sized bits of paper too – I was dreading opening the parcel up to find kazillions of little strips that I would have to try to keep under control. (See my previous post about Things to avoid when entering a poetry competition.)
Obviously I can’t give any info about the individual poems, but I thought it might be mildly entertaining to blog a little about the process as I go through it. Results have to be completed and a Judge’s Report submitted by June 30th, so I have a tad over three weeks to get it all done. Which should be quite doable, although it does mean that I’ll probably spend the rest of this week obsessively reading and rereading nothing but haiku.
- how early on will the winner emerge?
- What proportion of the entries will actually be haiku (as opposed to American Sentences, epigrams or pseudo-ku)?
- How many haijin will I either recognise or think I recognise?
And a bit of trivia, to keep you guys amused until I surface again:
- a nice neat total of 600 entries; (equivalent of ten copies of Kokako, or just slightly longer than The Collected Poems of WB Yeats )
- they stack into a pile 69 milimetres high; (the same as my New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics)
- all together they weigh 1.538 grams (equivalent to my trusty Oxford Reference Dictionary).
Right – hand me my snorkel and fins, I’m about to dive in.
Wish me luck!
(… as you waaave me goodbyyyyyye,
cheer-ee-oh, here I go, on my waaaaay …)